ALAMEDA – Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski occasionally misses a field goal. It’s normally wide right or left.
It’s never, ever short. On Sunday, Janikowski's kick didn’t make the 51 yards required for three points. That fact, more and the holding issues or unexpected misses raises red flags.
“That was very surprising,” special teams coach Bobby April said. “I’m sure it was very surprising to him.”
Janikowski has a career 80 percent conversion rate despite 75 tries over 50 yards, but this season hasn’t started well. He’s converted just 7-of-11 field goals, a career-worst 63-percent clip.
It’s brought a full-fledged examination of what’s wrong with Janikowski. The Raiders are going to examine it during the bye week.
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Is it Marquette King’s holding? Why has each miss come from the left hash? Are there lingering issues of a preseason calf injury? Why, pray tell, is the NFL’s strongest leg coming up short?
“He’s really miss-hit the ball on a couple occasions,” April said. “We need more work together, and we’ll get it.”
Janikowski’s issues aren’t physical. He’s a strong a durable as ever. April believes Janikowski’s over-thinking things a bit, and it’s gotten him in trouble.
“I think he feels that it’s not a matter of where the ball’s at, either distance or the hash,” April said. “He just hasn’t come through with his timing and his rhythm. He isn’t getting all of his body pushing through it. In talking to him, he’s probably overplayed some things, like the wind. Sometimes there’s some over analysis or misjudgment. That could very easily be the case here.”
Janikowski has been automatic for so long that any mistake seems odd. This year’s struggles have had an impact on the Raiders, who believe their kicker will revert back to his old self.
“He has to work his way out of a low percentage,” April said. “He has to string a bunch of them together and help our team. He’ll turn this thing around. He’s confident enough and tough enough mentally to get it back.